Football helmets display players’ creativity, personality

Throughout the Liberty Hill Panthers’ 2011 football season, players displayed unique designs on their helmets with stickers that are rewarded for their efforts on the gridiron.

Small gold football stickers are distributed to players to display on their helmets like a hunter’s skins or antlers on the wall.

There are sets of goals, both team and individual, for the offense, defense and special teams units. However, no stickers are passed out unless the Panthers win.

“We have a goal each week and if we meet those goals we get a sticker,” explained senior Jonathan Johnston. “But the only way we get stickers is if we win the game.”

You have probably seen other high schools and universities do the same thing such as the tiny tomahawks at Florida State. But the helmet stickers are something Liberty Hill Head Coach Jerry Vance brought with him when he first arrived to town.

“We pass those things out like candy,” said Vance, jokingly. “But the first thing you have to do to is to win the game.”

Johnston said that good plays, big hits, tackles for a loss, interceptions will all earn a player a sticker. On offense a player gets stickers for a 100-yard rush or scoring over 20 points.

“We pretty much let them do whatever design they want,” Vance said. “They range from flowers to initials of people they are playing for.”

A couple of those players who displayed initials of loved ones on their helmets included Brandan Corn, who had his mother’s initials, and Johnston with his late brother EJ’s initials.

“I started putting my brother’s name on my helmet last year,” Johnston said. “I’ve seen some pretty cool designs. (Cody) Turner and (Bo) Simpson had some sort of tribal design that was different from most people’s.”

Johnston said that at first when he started accumulating numerous stickers, he was unsure of what to do with them.

“Honestly, when you start getting stickers you don’t know what to do,” Johnston joked. “You just have to start throwing them on there and eventually you reach the point to where you get enough stickers that you just have to think of a design and go with it.”

No matter how many stickers a player receives, Coach Vance said they want more.

“It’s funny how kids don’t let you forget if you didn’t pass them out or if they didn’t get one they thought they should,” he joked. “The kids enjoy them and when we are through with the season they get to take the stickers off and place them on a nice piece of cardboard so they have something to remember the season by.”